Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Choosing Freedom in Education

By Rebecca Berg Manor

I have been so encouraged in recent years to see a movement within homeschooling that's closely tied with the philosophy of Charlotte Mason and encourages an approach to education that goes beyond replicating a classroom within our homes. These homeschoolers embrace nature study, love literature, are character-focused in their teaching, and have a whole lot of fun! Some of the proponents of this approach document their education journeys and philosophies here and here and here and here and I'd encourage you to check them out. They embrace the freedom that can come from choosing this alternative path to educating our children and it is lovely to see and inspiring. 

In choosing to homeschool, we can view the choice as the undertaking of a huge responsibility, or we can see it as a choice towards freedom: the freedom to educate our children as individuals, the freedom to take school outside on a beautiful day, the freedom to stop a science lesson in order to
focus on a character-teaching moment, the freedom to step away from the demands of a frenetic world and choose to build an environment of peace within our homes. Seeing families do this across the country in their own unique ways has been so fun for me to witness. 

And it is proven that educating in this way is good for our children. Public schools are eliminating recess in order to teach for tests demanded by short-sighted politicians and classical academies feel pressure to stress academics beginning in Pre-K programs despite the fact that numerous studies have shown both approaches fail our students. Instead giving children room to explore, grow, and question develops the natural curiosity with which they are born. All children are born learners and embracing and encouraging this gift requires much less structured learning then we've been led to believe. Of course, there is a time for structure and discipline as these are aspects of education and character-training as well. It's finding the balance that works for your family and then tweaking it as needed. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by homeschooling or just in a "it's nearly the end of the school year
and I'm feeling crazy" slump, I encourage you to take advantage of the warmer weather, skip the carefully planned lessons, and get outside with your children. Go explore for a day. Visit a museum. Go on a nature hike. Have a poetry tea-time. Play hookey - it's not going to wreck all the work you've put in to this year. You will probably find yourself refreshed, see your children with new eyes, and be ready to buckle down until the next break arrives. And if you need inspiration - hop over to Instagram where you can follow #wildandfreechildren for more inspiration. These families show that there are a million unique ways to embrace freedom in your homeschool. 

And, if you're like me and enjoy reading articles on education and what the research is saying about it, here are some good ones: 


At BFB we've been firm believers in flexible education for over 30 years. Our study guides are specifically set up to give parents the structure they want along with the ability to customize the curriculum to their own families. Each guide provides study notes, activities, and thought-provoking comprehension questions to encourage discussion of ideas and the development of rational thinking. Hands-on activities are encouraged over fill-in-the-blank worksheets. 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Rebecca for summing up so well what is happening in so many home schooling families today! I love seeing the freedom, adventure and joy restored to thousands of homes! It is a heartening trend.